SA startup Centbee raises £1-million from Calvin Ayre in Series-A round

Featured image, left to right: Centbee CEOs Angus Brown and Lorien Gamaroff (Supplied)

Johannesburg-based Bitcoin wallet and merchant payment startup Centbee has raised £1-million from Ayra Ventures founder Calvin Ayre.

Centbee was founded in 2017 by co-CEOs Lorien Gamaroff and Angus Brown. Gamaroff is a leading expert in blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies, while Brown — the former CEO of eBucks.com — has 20 years’ experience in payments and banking.

In a statement today (17 April) Ayre, who also founded digital currency news site CoinGeek, said Centbee has a track record of making Bitcoin easily usable and accessible to everyone, including merchants and consumers.

Centbee will use the investment for product development, scaling and growth

“They support the original Bitcoin protocol in the form of Bitcoin SV (BSV), and have demonstrated an extraordinary ability to attract users and we’re proud to support their further growth,” said Ayre.

The deal was facilitated by blockchain advisory, research and development firm nChain which last year in January took an equity stake in Centbee. The size of that deal was not disclosed.

nChain Group’s strategic advisory board chair and founding president of the Bitcoin Association Jimmy Nguyen, commenting in the same statement, called Centbee one of the most user-friendly Bitcoin wallets and merchant payment solution the firm had ever seen.

“It is built using the original Bitcoin protocol, now alive only in the form of Bitcoin SV, which has a plan for massive blockchain scaling,” said Nguyen. He explained that this enables Centbee to offer low fees and fast transaction speeds.

Nguyen said nChain will continue to work with Centbee as it sparks greater merchant and consumer adoption of Bitcoin SV in Africa and around the world.

In addition, nChain will also support the startup with its technical consulting services and access to its vast intellectual property portfolio which it said is aimed at promoting the growth of the BSV blockchain.

Brown (pictured above, left) pointed out that Centbee has made it easy for customers to buy Bitcoin SV at over 50 000 till point in South Africa. He said the investment will be used for product development, scaling and growth.

Gamaroff (pictured above, right) said the startup’s development roadmap is “well defined” with payment and remittance products coming to market this year. “We look forward to the next phase in our growth and development,” he said.

Read more: Why regulating crypto assets will help grow Bitcoin adoption [Opinion]
Read more: SA bitcoin wallet provider Centbee announces funding from nChain Group
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Featured image, left to right: Centbee CEOs Angus Brown and Lorien Gamaroff (Supplied)

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